As the new year begins, we all turn our attention forward to the things we’d like to accomplish. If one of the items on your list is to sell your home and move – even if you’re just thinking about it – here are some suggestions for things you can do to give yourself the best shot at the market possible, when you’re ready.
By going into the process fully prepared, you’ll be ahead of the game and things will be able to roll smoothly along without some of the hitches that often catch people by surprise. You’ll be giving yourself ample time to make any adjustments and updates you need to in order to come out on top.
1) Pre-Inspection: Consider investing in a home inspection if you’re in a house (as opposed to a condo*) and have been living there for at least a couple of years. The report the home inspector provides will give you valuable information about what may need fixing, possibly including things you haven’t noticed. This is important and well worth the few hundred dollars, as it could save you thousands at the negotiation table. First, because after adressing the obvious and/or necessary issues, you can list your house for sale with confidence and possibly even feature the updates as benefits to a buyer. Second, most buyers choose to have a home inspection of their own: you can either offer them your report, or feel far less anxiety during the inspection knowing that they are far less likely to want to renogeotiate because of issues discovered.
*If you’re in a condo, consider ordering a Status Certificate, which outlines all necessary details about the fiscal health of your building and which a buyer will require. During a condo sale negotiation, the buyer will have a proviso for the ordering of the Status Certificate at their own expense, but you can save them the trouble and make negotiations smoother by ordering it and having it available. The report will also inform you of any issues you should be aware of, which is also handy at negotiations and better dealt with at the initial offer table than later on. A Status Certificate is usually valid for 30 days and costs approximately $100 plus tax.
2) De-Clutter: Putting your home up for sale means it becomes a commodity. It will be competing with other homes in the neighbourhood/building and price range, and it needs to look as presentable as possible. Now that you’re thinking ahead, you can take the time to go through your home room by room and de-clutter, purge what you don’t want, and organize the rest neatly. Extra benefits include the peace of mind that comes with having a clean, clutter-free home and possibly giving things away to charity. TIP: Go to open houses if you can invest the time, and see how they are presented. You’ll learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t, and about home values in comparison to yours.
3) Home Evaluation: After you’ve done the above, invite a Realtor to come over and provide you with advice. A good Realtor can tell you what your home’s best features are and what you may wish to change or update. They will be looking at your house with fresh eyes and the benefit of experience. They can offer valuable tips from paint suggestions to furniture placement; you can then choose what you wish to do about the advice. You should also get a good idea of the potential market value of your home, which brings us neatly to our next point.
4) Mortgage Stats: If you still have a mortgage on your home, it would be wise to contact the finance company for the latest details on your mortgage. Your Realtor will ask you for this information, but equally important, you will receive a current snapshot of the equity in your home, and what fees may be involved in cancelling or porting your portgage. These numbers are significant and may sway you one way or the other in terms of your moving plans. Better to find out now!
5) Gather Paperwork: There is other paperwork you will need in order to list your home for sale. If it isn’t all in one place, now would be a good time to gather it. An Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a legal document and is to be taken very seriously; all the information needed to convey your property to another is required, as you may recollect from when you bought the home. At the very least, you will require your latest tax assessment and your property’s legal description, any plans you may have received when you bought (floor layouts, measurements, etc.), a land survey if available (house), and any paperwork documenting changes you have made, eg. renovations. If you have rentals such as alarms, water heater or furnace, etc., have these contracts available as well.
Well, there you have it. I hope you’ve found this valuable, and as always, I’m available to answer real estate questions when you have them, and look forward to helping you move if you’d like my assistance! 416-930-4388 . firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a quick video on improving your home’s value, both to enjoy while you’re living in it, and for the resale market.